When her estranged sister Tara (Jenna Ortega) turns into the primary sufferer of a brand new Ghostface killer, Sam (Melissa Barrera) and her boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid) head to Woodsboro to hunt the assistance of veteran cop Dewey Riley (David Arquette). Because the murders proceed, Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) additionally discover themselves inexorably drawn again into the fray.
“How nicely do you keep in mind the unique?” That’s a query posed by the brand new Ghostface killer (or is it “killers”?) within the fifth Scream film’s compulsory opening phone-call murder-game — and it’s additionally the movie’s central preoccupation. If the complicated title (‘5cream’ was proper there — the sort of numerical title wordplay the movie itself pokes enjoyable at) hadn’t already tipped you off, essentially the most meta of film franchises has returned to take a stab at Hollywood’s newest development: legacy sequels. Or, because the film dubs them, ‘re-quels’ – a sequel-reboot hybrid largely centered on new characters, however happening within the continuity of the unique movie so as to carry again the previous characters everyone liked. Suppose David Gordon Inexperienced’s Halloween or Nia DaCosta’s Candyman. Stripping again the title whereas additionally stripping the collection again to fundamentals is all a part of the sport. And enjoying video games has at all times been Scream’s modus operandi.
In a manner, the underrated Scream 4 did this already — fittingly, for a franchise and filmmaker at all times so forward of the sport, Wes Craven cooked up a legacy sequel in 2011 earlier than they had been even a factor. Kudos, then, to incoming administrators Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett (beforehand behind the riotously enjoyable Prepared Or Not) for not solely delivering a movie worthy of the late horror nice, however for making their Scream greater than a rehash of a re-quel of a trilogy of self-referential slashers.
Because the re-quel guidelines dictate, there’s a contemporary protagonist right here: Sam Carpenter (that surname is not any accident), performed by In The Heights’ Melissa Barrera, who proves that she will scream her lungs out in addition to she will sing them. When her estranged youthful sister Tara (Jenna Ortega) is slashed up by Ghostface within the opening reel – yet one more homage to the unique’s Drew Barrymore sequence, however with the sly wit, playful dialogue and stunning brutality required to efficiently pull that off — we spend a big period of time with Sam, her supportive boyfriend Richie (The Boys’ Jack Quaid, a comedic standout) and Tara’s mates (a Gen-Z bunch raised on so-called ‘elevated horror’ like The Babadook and Hereditary), bedding in with the newbies earlier than the inevitable return of the legacy heroes.
Crucially, after the passing of Wes Craven, the spirit of Scream stays alive.
Although Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox have returned for each Scream film, there’s nonetheless a thrill in seeing them again in motion ten years on – and, in true re-quel fashion, their return brings additional emotional baggage. The previous chemistry between Arquette’s cop Dewey (the MVP of the oldies right here) and Cox’s bold TV anchor Gale retains that acquainted spark, now with a melancholy edge. Whereas that depth is welcome, it comes on the expense of the knockabout enjoyable the pair introduced again within the previous days — and the movie lingers somewhat lengthy on the intense stuff in its central act earlier than cranking up for its bloody finale. Campbell simply slips again into the footwear of authentic closing lady Sidney — however, as we’re ceaselessly reminded, this isn’t her story. How die-hard followers will react to decisions made with the legacy solid stays to be seen — however the movie itself is forward of the sport, enjoying on the propensity for fan outrage that’s all of the, nicely, rage as of late to laugh-out-loud impact within the third act.
Crucially, after the passing of Wes Craven, the spirit of Scream stays alive. Although the collection has already been referencing and remixing itself for 25 years now, there are nonetheless enjoyable new twists to mine — even when some clichés (Did you actually simply depart that raise? Don’t neglect your inhaler!) are required to maintain issues transferring. The Ghostface killings stay scalpel-sharp (a slow-mo neck-knifing is especially grotesque), Nick Cave’s ‘Pink Proper Hand’ as soon as once more adorns the soundtrack, and acquainted faces and areas carry a welcome frisson. A lot of Scream takes place at a celebration thrown “to Wes” — a teenage rager, full of potential victims who’ll make superb fodder for Ghostface’s knife. It’s simply what he would have needed.
For essentially the most half, it is a ‘re-quel’ as quick, humorous and ferocious as a Scream film needs to be. In an period of elevated horror, it’s a gloriously gory basement get together.